Friday, November 8, 2013

A short trip to Murshidabad for just 3 days.

Murshidabad was a town and district of British India, in the Bengal Presidency. In the Mughal period it was the capital of Bengal, the town of Murshidabad is on the left bank of the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly or main sacred channel of the Ganges. The city of Murshidabad was the last capital of Bengal before the British era. In 1704 the nawab Murshid Quli Khan changed the seat of government from Dhaka to Maksudabad, which he renamed after his own name.

This blog gives you information about the following places :

Cossimbazar Palace, Dutch SemeteryMotijheel, The Jahankosha Canon, Katra Mosque, Tomb and Mosque of Azimunissa, Nimak Haram Deori (The Traitor’s Gate), Cemeteries of Mir-Zafar and his descendents, Nasipur Akhra, Nasipur Palace, House of Jagat Seth, Kathgola Garden, Hazarduari Palace, Bachhawali Tope, Nizamat Imambara, Wasef Manzil, Khoshbagh, Palasi

Day 1

Reaching Murshidabad

I took "Hazarduari Express" from Kolkata station (Chitpur) at 6:50 AM. Chair car but a really good journey with lots of greens on either side. It reached Berhampur court station at 11AM. Took a rickshaw from there to reach "Berhampur tourist lodge" within 10 mins. Fare Rs 30/-
Hazarduari Express


We stayed at the above mentioned hotel run by the Government of West Bengal tourism department. Good rooms but with low maintenance, but hospitality was good. Tasty foods to offer though they use excess chilly. There is a bar just beside the dinning hall. 

Berhampur Tourist Lodge
One interesting point, there is a big tree at the entrance of the hotel full of bats, thousands of bats hanging from the branches, they all flew away in the evening and come back again in the morning...

Cossimbazar Palace

After lunch and a short rest we took an auto rickshaw @ Rs 150/- and went to visit Cossimbazar Choto Rajbari. Entry fee is Rs 25/- per head. We received a good hospitality from the family members.  Old furnitures, paintings, Palki, mementos all are maintained very well. 
Cossimbazar Rajbari
Inside Cossimbazar Rajbari

Dinning Hall
Nagalingam Flower

For further information refer 

Dutch Cemetery

While returning back we visited Dutch Cemetery located just after the Cossimbazar railway crossing. The burials are located in a small compound. It is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India and kept well cleaned. The burials have cenotaphs built on top of them in different forms. The slender pyramidical forms catches the eye from outside. 
Dutch Semetery.

Day 2

Sight seeing at Murshidabad

I booked an Ambassador and did a half day tour at Rs 1500/-. We started at 7:15 AM after having an early complimentary breakfast with butter toast, a big sized omlet and tea.
My son, Rajdeep !

The first spot we visited was Motijhil, a big horse-shoe shaped Lake in Murshidabad. There is palace beside this lake which is called the Sang-i-dalan ("stone palace") which is also known as the Motijhil Palace. It is located at the bend of this lake. It was used as the residence of Nawazish and Ghaseti Begum, Nawazish's beloved wife. Motijheel was also the residence of Warren Hastings, Sir John Shore and other British high-ranking officials. So, it is also known as the Company Bagh due to its association with the East India Company. Inside the palace is a huge room having no doors or windows in it and closed on all the four sides. Some say that huge quantity of wealth belonging to the Begum had been kept hidden underneath the room. Once labours were employed to break open the masonry and excavate the treasure, but they ended up vomiting blood, so nobody dares to open it.
Ruins of Mitijheel Palace
Motijheel Cemetery in front of the Mosque.

Motijheel Mosque.
The Jahankosha Canon
Second spot we visited was a great canon made by Janardan Karmakar. The cannon is more than 7 tons heavy. It is 17 feet and 6 inches in long and 3 feet in width, it has a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. The circumference of its mouth is more than one feet. The radius of the silt for containing fire is one and a half inch. In order to fire this cannon, 17 kilograms of gunpowder was needed for a single shelling. The orifice is 6 inches. It still shows no sign of rust.

Jahankosha Canon
Katra Mosque
The third spot was Katra Mosque, Katra means market.Murshid Quli Khan on reaching old age, expressed his desire to construct his tomb adjacent to a mosque, Its importance lies not only as a great centre of Islamic learning but also for the tomb of Murshid Quli Khan, who is buried under the white coloured entrance staircase in the eastern side. Nowadays visitors are allowed to enter the mosque from the west side.
Katra Mosque (West side)
Katra Mosque (East side)
Tomb of Murshid Quli Khan
Tomb and Mosque of Azimunissa
Our fourth stop. This ruined Mosque was built by Azimunnisa Begum/Kalija Begum, daughter of Murshid Kuli Khan and wife of Nawab Suja-ud-daulla. Like her father she was also buried under the staircase. The remaining arch of the Mosque indicates that it was well decorated. The large raised plinth and the exterior bay of the east facade of the mosque is remaining.
Ruins of the Azimunissa Mosque.
Tomb of Azimunissa Begum.
My family.
Destination five. The Nimak Haram Deori or the Traitor's Gate is the main gate of Jafraganj Palace of Mir-Zafar.It is one Km North of Hazarduari. Within this palace Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula was killed in an act of great betrayal. This palace is protected and strictly no entry for visitors.

Nimakharam Deuri (Residence of Mir-Jafar). 

Spot number six. On the other side of the road, are the cemeteries of "Shuja-ul-Mulk, Hashim ud-Daula, Nawab Ja'afar Ali Khan Bahadur, Mahabat Jang" or commonly known as Mir-Jafar and his descendents. The Cemetery contains the tombs of the Nawab's Nazim, from Mir Jafar to Humayun Jah. Mir Jafar's father Syud Ahmed Nazafi, Alivardi Khan's sister, Shahkhanum, Mir Jafar's widows, Munni Begam and Babbu Begam, Mohamed Ali Khan, the brother and Ismail Ali Khan and Asraf Ali Khan, the sons-in-law of Mir Jafar, lie buried here. There are 1100 cemeteries in total. Now, this graveyard is controlled and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Cemetery of Mir-Jafar and 1100 others.

Tomb of Mir-Jafar(big one) and his sons.

Inside the cemetery.
Destination number seven. Nashipur Akhara is situated in the village of Nashipur on the east of the Bhagirathi River. The motto of the Akhra is to remain a bachelor for ones life. It is actually here where every year Jhulan Yatra and the famous fair is held. People from far off assemble here to witness the dramas held on this auspicious occasion.
Nasipur Akhra
In the Nashipur Akhra very old articles like huge utensils, a chariot made of gold and silver, a vintage car is kept in small rooms, but none of them have proper maintenance. The vintage Fiton model car is the most attractive thing here which cost Rs 80/- at that time.

Old Mementos
Car of Rs 80/-
Destination nine. The Nasipur Palace at Mahimapur was built by Kirti Chand Bahadur, a descendent of Debi Singh. Debi Sing, who settled here from Punjab, was a tax collector in the early days of the East India Company. Ramachandra Temple, one of the largest temples in Murshidabad district is inside the palace compound. The temple of Lakshmi-Narayana is situated nearby. The Jhulan festival celebrated in remembrance of the divine love of Radha-Krishna, is held at Nasipur Palace.

Nasipur Palace.
Me and Rajdeep in front of  Nasipur Palace !
House of Jagat Seth.
Destination ten. Fateh Chand, the richest man in india at that time established himself in Murshidabad. The title "Jagat Seth" (Emperor of the world) was conferred on Fateh Chand at his first visit to the Emperor Muhamad Shah in 1724 AD. Then onward all the Chand family members were having the same title. The Seth family along with Omichund and Mir-Jafar joined the successful conspiracy against the Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula, engineered by Robert Clive, due to which the Nawab lost the battle of Plassey. 
House of Jagat Seth.
You can see many old coins, arms, a tunnel straight from Kathgola garden to his house etc. There is a Jain temple just beside the house.

Temple at Jagat Seth's house.
In the garden.
Kathgola Garden
Destination eleven, The Kathgola Garden, is a 155 bigha (45+ acre) country estate that encompasses the Kathgola Palace, the surrounding Kathgola Gardens and the Adinatha Temple, also known as the Kathgola Temple. The complex was built by the late Rai Bahadur Lakshmipat Singh Dugar (1836-1888), one of the leading zamindars (landlords) and bankers of Bengal.
Kathgola garden.
There is a three storied structure referred to as the Kathgola Palace. The ground floor comprises a central drawing room, surrounded by a study/library, a billiard room, a dining room, and a bedroom. On all four sides, generous porches allow for cross ventilation and the pools East and West of the structure as well as the baoli to the North provide natural air-conditioning 1870s style. The first floor comprises a central hall with two bedrooms, a music parlor and a family room furnished in the Indian style at each corner of structure and porches all around. The second floor contains a bedroom and a private sitting room that offer superb views of the surrounding countryside from a perch roughly sixty feet above ground level.
Kathgola Palace.

The Adinatha Temple is dedicated to the first Jain tirthankara or preceptor, Lord Rishabha. The architecture of the temple is distinctive in that it wraps a European bungalow-style facade around a traditional Jain interior. The interior is lavishly and sumptuously decorated with extremely fine traditional Bengali plaster-work ("chun-surkhi kaaj") as well as Rajasthani/Mughal motifs. Famous for its intricate terracotta murals, seashell lime polished columns and unique patterns of mosaic flooring, the doors of the temple were covered in living memory with silver and gold sheets.
Adinath Temple, Kathgola.
Now the last spot of the day........
We reached Hazarduari in the midday. We had have some ice creams, in a short break before entering the Museum. We have to cover Hazarduari Palace, Bachhawali Tope, Clock tower, Imambara etc.

Hazarduari Palace
Hazarduari Palace, or the palace with a thousand doors is the chief tourist attraction of Murshidabad. This three-storey palace was built in 1837 by Duncan McLeod for the Nawab Najim Humaun Jah, descendent of Mir Zafar. It has thousand doors (among which only 100 are real),114 rooms and 8 galleries, built in European architectural style. The enclosure where the palace is situated is known as Kila Nizamat or Nizamat Kila. The campus except this palace, has in addition the Nizamat Imambara, Wasif Manzil, the Bachhawali Tope, Murshidabad Clock Tower, three mosques out of which one is the Madina Mosque, and the Nawab Bahadur's Institution. Other buildings include residential quarters. It is situated on the east bank of the Bhagirathi River, which flows just beside it. The palace is rectangular in plan (130 meters long and 61 meters broad) and is a good example of Indo-European architecture. The front facade of the palace, which has the grand staircase, faces north. This staircase is perhaps the biggest one in India.
I cannot explain how wondered I was to see the rich set of paintings, arms etc... Just go for it and get wondered by yourself.

The clock tower lies on the garden spaces between the Nizamat Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace

Hazarduari Palace Museum with Clock Tower.
Bachhawali Tope
Is a cannon which lies in the Nizamat Fort Campus on the garden space between the Nizamat Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace. It is heard that this cannon was fired only once and when it was done it produced a huge explosive sound, within a radius of about 10 miles. This sound made most of the pregnant women of the city to give birth to their child. This cannon is believed to get its name from there, so the cannon has been named, Bacchawali Tope.
Front view of Hazarduari with Bachhawali Tope in the right.
Nizamat Imambara
This grand Imambara is the largest one in Bengal as well as India. This new Imambara was built in 1847 after the old wooden Imambara get destroyed by fire. Imambara is only opened 2-3 times in a year during Muslim festivals. 

Wasef Manzil
Ohh !! I missed it because my son was so tired, he can't just take it anymore.... So no photograph..
It was used by the Nawab Wasif Ali Mirza Khan as his residence. The building is extremely close to the Hazarduari Palace. It was extensively destroyed in the 1897 earthquake on 12 June. The whole of the palace's second storey came down within a few seconds. It was repaired later but without the second storey. 

At around 1:30 PM we returned back to the hotel. 

I the evening We visited "Lal Dighi", a big lake with lots of fish in it. We had a ride in a toy train beside the lake in just Rs 3/- per head !!
This is the end of day 2.

Day 3

We started 6 AM in the morning. Took a private bus from the nearby bust stand for Lalbagh. It took around 30 mins to reach the "Lalbagh Ferri Ghat". We crossed Bhagirathi in a big sized boat. Fare was just Rs 3/- per head.
Crossing the river.
River Bhagirathi.
Then from the opposite side of the river we booked a 6 seater rickshaw van @ Rs 60/-. It took us to the cemetery of Alivardi Khan, Siraj-Ud-Daula and his wife was buried.  
Cemetery of Siraj-Ud-Daula
Nawab Alivardi Khan is lying underneath. 
Mosque behind the tomb.

We returned hotel at around 9:30 AM and get prepared for the check out after having our lunch at 12 noon. 


After checking out we reached the station and our next destination was to visit Palasy. We knew that there was a train (Lalgola passenger) at 1:45 PM. We had it and it took around 1 hr to reach Palasy station. From there we booked a Tata Majic at Rs 100/- and visited the place. It took 10 mins to reach the battle place. The road towards the battle place was remarkable. 
On the way to the battle place.
The mango garden is still there beside the bank of the river.
The famous mango garden.
At the spot there is a war memorial made by the British. Just in front of that there is a statue of Siraj-Ud-Daula made by the Government of West Bengal few years back.
War memorial at Palasi war spot.
End of the independent history....

We returned to the station again and waited for Hazarduari Express that was in the evening 6 PM. It took 4 hrs to reach Kolkata station at 10 PM.

Important things to remember :
1. Do not take any guide before reaching any spot. There will be guide at every spot for Rs 10/- or Rs 20/-and do not forget to bargain. Only the guides of Katra mosque will charge Rs 40/- or so. Never ever book any guide for Hazarduari palace as the entry of guide is strictly prohibited.

2.  Photography inside Hazarduari palace is prohibited. You have to deposit all your camera mobile phones or camera at the gate in their locker.

3. There is no entry fee to see the cemetery of Siraj at Khoshbagh.

4. Do not  forget to have the special sweet of Mushidabad called "Chana Bora" (nothing but the "Kalojam" we have at Kolkata).

Thank you all for going through this blog. Please leave some comment if my "first blog" helps you anyway..

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  1. Excellent information and beautiful photographs.. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It was relay nice to redefine our heritage specially when it located in bengal only. awsm photography......

  3. Great trip, I hope one day I come there. Lots of information and beautiful pictures. Congratulations! I'm waiting for next articles.

  4. Sharmistha ChakrabortyNovember 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    History has come alive.......superb effort dada.

  5. Thanks Rajib, Magdalena, Debasish and Sharmistha :)

  6. Thank you so much for such a beautiful brief with nice photo of Murshidabad tour & your travel planning information.

  7. Good to see everything before I make aplan to visit murshidabad

  8. Good to see everything before I make aplan to visit murshidabad

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  11. Wonderful blog Rajiv. Am visiting Murshidabad next week and found your blog to be highly informative. Thanks for the help.

  12. Wonderful, as a child I have been to almost all of these places but only recall a very few. Brought back a lot of fond memories.

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